FORT KENT, Maine — As colleges and universities ease the way for students to earn degrees by offering more opportunities for distance education and online learning, Eastern Maine Community College and the University of Maine at Fort Kent have eliminated another roadblock.
The two recently signed an agreement that allows EMCC nursing students who have earned an associate degree to continue their education seamlessly and earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing at UMFK by taking the remaining two years of coursework entirely online.
The articulation agreement is the first between the nursing programs at EMCC and UMFK, and was developed so graduates could work and find the time to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
The agreement will go into effect for the 2009-10 academic year, making it an option for EMCC’s 2009 graduating class.
“This is a good thing,” EMCC President Joyce Hedlund said Thursday. “The greatest benefit is to the students because this creates a pathway for them to earn a more advanced degree. This is a great opportunity for them.”
There are 56 students enrolled in the nursing program at EMCC, and Hedlund said the college is seeing more and more nursing students who want to earn bachelor’s degrees.
“They may not want to do it right away,” she said, “but as they begin working in the field, they have the opportunity to see the benefits of having a higher degree and they want to take the time to earn it.”
Rachel Albert, UMFK vice president of academic affairs, agreed.
“This gives the students an opportunity to further their education in a way that is flexible and best meets their schedule,” she said Thursday. “The agreement opens doors for those who do want that four-year degree.”
“The agreement clearly spells out for associate degree nursing graduates how they can apply their credits to the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree,” she said.